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The 55-year-old Radio 2 host has presented a lunchtime current affairs show since 2003 when his idol, the late Sir Jimmy Young, came off air. He insists his ambition is to emulate his hero and stay until he’s an octogenarian. “I would love to still be on Radio 2 when I’m 82,” he said. “When I started, the first person I met was Terry Wogan. I didn’t say this to Terry but he started his breakfast show when I was six years old. It was amazing to walk in here and he was still on.
“There’s something about it, the lift doors open and Gary Numan steps out or I go in and see Tony Blackburn or Bob Harris. I’m a radio wonk, so for me this is heaven.”
However, Jeremy does fear his identity is inextricably linked to his career and believes his life will have no meaning if not broadcasting.
Speaking on the Elevenses Podcast, he said: “The scary thing is that when you get to the end of your life you didn’t really do anything of consequence. I worry that, if somebody suddenly turned the show off, there’s nothing.
“Broadcasters really worry about this. Sir Jimmy, his identity was the show, he was still broadcasting at 82, and I said to my editor: ‘How’s that possible?’ And he said: ‘He’s actually really existing for two hours a day’. The other 22 hours I don’t know what Jimmy was doing, but probably recovery.
“That is commendable, amazing and scary. If the only thing you’ve got is the show, you’ve got a problem.”
Jeremy, who also hosts a Channel 5 phone-in show, admits his professional life might have distracted him from his family – journalist wife Rachel Schofield and their two teenage daughters.
He said: “I see stuff where parenting goes wrong and I say to my wife, ‘God, is that me, am I the one who’s always preoccupied at weekends?'”
He knows he worries too much, though, adding: “My worst quality is to dwell too much. I remember every mistake I’ve made on air.
“I’d like to take the edge off my hyper-sensitivity, but maybe there’s something to be said for it.”
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